Commerce loses, Education gains in IT spending

Most agencies IT budget have little change from fiscal 2010

The Commerce Department’s information technology spending would see the biggest percentage drop under the Obama administration’s fiscal 2011 budget proposal, while the Education Department would have the highest increase, according to a budget slide presentation from federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra.

Commerce fell by 62 percent, or $4.1 billion, compared with the $6.6 billion Congress enacted in fiscal 2010. The department saw a large increase in fiscal 2010 because of the cost related to the decennial census. However, the 2011 proposal is still $1.4 billion less than the department received in 2009.

On the other hand, the administration is asking for a 32.7 percent increase, or $267 million, in IT spending for the Education Department. Congress enacted $815 million last year, and the new proposal asks for $1 billion for IT projects.

Funding for the Housing and Urban Development Department would increase by 25 percent in fiscal 2011, which would amount to a $111.3 million increase. Meanwhile, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s spending amount could fall by 23.2 percent, or a $49 million decrease, according to the document.


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View the detailed year-over-year agency IT budget comparisons here (PDF)


In total, 18 of the 28 agencies listed had increases -- although minor -- in IT spending, according to the document. The Obama administration budget keeps most agencies’ IT spending relatively level, except in a few cases.

Considering its size, the Defense Department had only a 6.6 percent increase in spending, but it was the second-largest dollar increase among the agencies -- roughly $2.24 billion, the document shows. Similarly, in dollars, NASA had the greatest drop. It stands to lose nearly $80 million in IT, which equates to a roughly 5 percent decrease in its IT budget from last year.

The budget proposal, in dollars, would give DOD the largest increase while the Army Corps of Engineers would receive the smallest increase -- only $100,000. On the other end, while Commerce has the major drop, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would have the smallest dollar decrease, losing roughly $4.4 million, the document states.

Among other departments:

  • The Homeland Security Department’s budget could decrease by $129 million, or 2 percent.
  • The Transportation Department would receive a $217 million increase, or 7 percent.
  • Veterans Affairs Department would drop by $17 million, or 0.5 percent.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Thu, Feb 11, 2010 homebound Away from HQ

Commerce's IT budget is lower for 2011 because the 2010 Decennial Census IT "mop up operations" spending needs are down almost $800 million from 2010, and the $4.7 billion American Recovery Act's Broadband Technology Opportunity Grants program temporarily inflated the overall IT figures for 2009 and 2010. Controlling for these two budgetary anomalies the Commerce IT budget continues to show a slight annual increase for its core mission activities.

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